Tag Archives: music

Painting in Joshua Tree

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Twice a year, the Joshua Tree Music Festival happens in the desert of Southern California making up the Mojave and Colorado desert. Its stunning, the size of Rhode Island and one of my places to gather to meet other artists, listen to international music and get to know more about Joshua Tree.

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This is my third festival with them. This year I decided to be apart of the Art Auction where 21 artists get together to do live painting throughout the festival. At the end, the pieces are put on display for a silent art auction where half the proceeds go to the music education fund in Joshua Tree. Its an amazing way to engage artists and the community. I love that the festival puts such value on the visual arts.

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This year I decided to listen to some music and enjoy the festival before I immediately started painting. Last festival I had to paint an 8 foot by 6 foot piece so I was a bit more stressed out. This year it was 2 1/2 feet by 2 1/2 feet and I could carry it with me wherever I wanted. There was shade, thank goodness and I could actually listen to all the live music and I met a lot of people because they would enjoy the progress of my piece throughout the festival.

   

Here are some process shots of how I painted the murals. Of course the background first, then slowly deciding where I wanted to put people and the parts of the festival. I walked around with my board for this part and just sketching in front of what I was painting. This was one of my favorite parts because people were super intrigued with this process. This also came with sticky notes so I could play with the composition and make sure I had room for the entire festival and all the things that made it so special.

I spent most of my time shaded in the “Bowl” that included 3 musical stages and performances from 10am-11:30pm with artists rotating almost every 1.5 hours. I listened to almost every set of music that was played. Quality music and painting combined made for a dreamy weekend. Below you can also see the silent art auction and how they set it up for us on the sunny Sunday morning of the festival. People could go around and write on the clip board how much they wanted to bid. I was a little nervous!


   

I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of people seeing my artwork before its done, let alone when its just in the planning stage and many people ask if its done. That is why I like the festival, to push myself and get out of my comfort zone of a studio or a blank wall inside alone. Music, friends, food, art and workshops this festival was a great way to connect with community and introduce art at the same time.

 

My absolute favorite part of the weekend was getting to interact with people who were speaking about my painting, and then I was able to paint them into my piece. I loved the children getting excited about their cartoon character coming to life. My painting was a hit with children as the same children would sneak back to my painting about once an hour to make sure they were still in the painting. They were so engaged and it was incredible to make them feel included and excited about something creative.

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In particular one girl, Chloe stood out to me as she was more than an admirer, she was an assistant. This beautiful 6 year old gave me advice about what things she wanted to see in the festival, composition, and she even got to paint a little of it with me. I appreciated her excitement and loyalty to the piece. She helped me out, and I enjoyed the company. Her family, all featured in the piece, ended up purchasing the piece through the auction and I could not be happier about it. Pretty special and it was a great experience.

  

Until next festival Joshua Tree, hope to see you all in May!

Port Angeles, Sequim, Port Townsend and Beyond!

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We arrived from the black ball ferry mid day into port Angeles from victoria that took about one hour and 36 minutes on the ferry. Again, epic as we passed through the islands and through the US border and into the tiny cozy town of port Angeles. Home of the Olympic and Hoh national rainforest it is where many people get their start before their trek into the forest.

   

  

We arrived in town and wanted to play a show so we asked a bar owner we met on the ferry if we could play at his bar. Two hour later we were on stage praise on the sidewalk and then later elevated on a second story stage that looked down upon the bar. At the bar called “next door” we met a man who let us crash at his place less than a mile from downtown and the venue we were playing around. So many nice people along the way! Yipppeee! The outdoor sidewalk concert quickly turned into a full on elevated stage venue inside and we played a couple hours on this stage that was on the second story looking down onto the bar. A pretty amazing venue.

We slept in the lawn of a friend and played music around the bonfire!

Next we traveled next to port Townsend and along the way we passed by squirm which is where my great aunt lives!

 

This part of the tour was super super super important to me. After my mother passed in 2007 I started using my mothers last name as my artist name. Molly Aigner turned Molly Keen for my art and inspiration. I sign my paintings M. Keen and my mother has been with me through all my journeys and paintings. So meeting another Keen was amazing. She is a painter herself and signs her paintings M. Keen as well! What a blessing and amazing thing to have in common. We spoke of family and I heard stories I never had before.

 

I gave her a last minute call to see if he could have lunch or coffee and she agreed! Met me within ten minutes at the Mexican restaurant down from her home. What a gift! Her name is Marion keen and he is an artist and painter as well. He was married to my grandfathers brother, Stan. What a beautiful reunion it was!

Marion let me know that she has a son and family in port Townsend so I grabbed the number of drew. The next morning after we camped at a clearing in the fleet and made a lovely fire. We stopped for gas at a gas station and sure enough there came Pamela and Drew running to our group of cyclists and asking “Which one of you is Molly?”. They had found our group and the reunion was beautiful. The last time I saw them was apparently when I was only a couple of months old and I was in their wedding. They are Keen’s as well! I loved meeting them and getting to know them. I invited Pamela to our show and she came for the whole set with chocolate and gifts included! She was so sweet to connect with and just retired from working for the library for 25+years! What a treat it was to be able to get to know her!

The show was set on the water at a park and we had a great turn out. After the show we rode another 5 miles to a friends house where we slept in the front yard. It was a great place to stay for the night and we were all super tired!

 

 

The next day we were in route to Seattle! We rode a different way from Port Townsend to the Edmonds ferry! I was able to ride early enough to get dinner with my family and enjoy seattle! More to come on the Seattle shows that I have helped book and put together. It is going to be an amazing weekend! Stay tuned.

Canada! Vancouver, Salt Spring & Victoria

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Getting to Salt Spring island was a beautiful adventure. We saw pods of orca whales on the ferry boat, and did some Tarot and card making. I started to get pain in my wrist so my friend Justin and I switched out my handle bars and met the rest of the group at the ferry. From my understanding they went through a huge tunnel on the ride, that was not meant for cyclists. They had no troubles and a road angel showed up and rode behind them through the whole tunnel protecting them from cars. I am glad that they are all okay!

  

 

Here you can see the group looking for whales and all of the 16 bicycles packed on the front of the ferry. What a group we have! The ride from then ferry into the channel was incredible. Orcas are considered rare to see these days, so we felt incredibly lucky. We pulled into long harbor, salt spring island around sunset so the lighting was incredible and you could see more bright green trees than water or houses. What a special island.

 

It was hard to say goodbye to Vancouver but the ferry ride into salt spring island was unbelievable. We got to play an amazing show at Centennial park in Victoria and a show at the Farmers market in Salt Spring island.

I couldn’t believe the one hour ride through the gulf islands. Those orcas are still with me! The ferry rides have been nothing short of epic and incredible as we get to take them all around the route we are on. They are so nice to bicycles and to be out on the deck and listen to the sounds, smells and experience all that the Northwest has to offer. I feel really lucky to be from this area and to have experienced so many ferry rides in my life. Below if a picture of the first place that we stayed, and an epic rock formation from Salt Spring Island.

  

We played a show at the farmer’s market and got caught in a bit of rain. We stayed a total of 4 days on the island. We were so lucky to get another ferry ride to Victoria and then played a show at centennial park with the pouring down rain. People still showed up and even for our bike ride after. We had a little moonlight ride through the rain.

It is a small town and the farmers market that we played at was super cute. I think that playing at farmer markets is really the best venue for our bike music festival as there are tons of children, local people and local healthy food. Playing outdoors is definitely a strong play for us to play as well. Above is a picture of one of the three children that we got to play with and get to know. Here in the picture he told me he was catching butterflies.

  

  

The island of salt spring has a population of 10,000 people and is on a Quartz! It was beautiful intense energy. The first night I met a 92 year old woman with a property right in a cove. She let us stay under her apple trees in the front yard. We sang some songs into the sound and to our surprise there was a group of sailors that heard us sing and they began to sing back! They eventually took a dingy boat to meet us and turned out to be two drunken older guys. But it was fun to sing across the cove to each other. In the morning we headed for our hosts home. We stayed with a family for three nights – Ashley’s friend Michelle who he travelled with in Colombia and Canada! Michelle’s sister let us stay at the enchanted fairy farm.

 

 

They had three children on the farm, three horses and two cats.The property was super close to mermaid lake. A wonderful lake with super clean and warm water. We played a show for the couple that hosted us. It was a long ride from town to the house with quite the uphills!

 

  

 

Canada has been nothing short of stunning scenery, nice people and friendly drivers. We all agreed that this is an incredible part of the journey and unlike anything else we have ever seen! Beauty!

The next day we took the black ball ferry to port Angeles. We are so thankful for all of the bodies of water we were able to cross with ferries! Really special! This leg of the trip is epically impressive.

 

 

 

 

Lastly, below is Michelle crossing the border off the ferry. You can see how much space all of our bicycles take up in the below picture as well! We are a sight to see!

 

 

Biking WA – Mukilteo to Bellingham

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Rain started as a sprinkle as we drifted beyond the trees and the rivers and streams. Light playful rejuvenating rain. Heavy and thick getting louder and more powerful.

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Soon enough we were in full on downpour where our waterproof gear was suddenly not and we were chilly little bikers! For a couple of hours we rode in the rain. At first it was fun and exciting, but then it became cold and uncomfortable.

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The ferry was beautiful, and quite the ordeal with 12 bicycles. We walked on and the ride was only about 15 minutes to Whidbey Island. We were greeted with huge uphills! Beautiful, but wet ride! I am glad that we waterproofed all of our gear before it started. Because it did not stop anytime soon.

IMG_9183 Here is the first part of the ride from Mukilteo to Fort Ebey State park that was right on the water. It was a beautiful spot, but unfortunately rained the entire time. We were greeted with quite large hills on the end of the ride, which was difficult.

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We finally found a warm place to stop for lunch and made nori sandwiches and wraps then we’re off again. Beautiful and hilly Whidbey I remember coming to the island as a child and as a teenager for my grandparents’ reunion. Memories now shared with my present experience of this rainy bike tour. The land, so green and luscious. The trees, swaying with beauty, and the puget sound with smells of salt and seaweed. Smells from my childhood.

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We rode across the island only 50 miles to our camping site where we arrive with pouring down rain and tons of hills! One thing I love about this group is our ability to work together. We had two tarps. One tarp for cooking dinner and keeping the food and crew dry and the other for a team of people holding up a tarp so individuals could set up their tents! What an experience so organized and loving with all that rain! We were pretty cold and miserable. We warmed up quickly in our little tents and got dry as night fell.

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Here is the second part of the ride where we rode over a military part of the island. There was a lot of planes flying overhead and a navy base. It made for an interestingly loud ride amongst the beautiful green trees.  We made it to the Look Out Arts Quarry in Bellingham after two days and lots of rain! It was beautiful and we are thankful to have experienced that magical island!

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Biking to and through Los Angeles

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IMG_1127What a different experience it has been since we hit Santa Barbara. Next was Malibu, we camped on a hill near a construction site and behind a grocery store that’s was settled in a little forest. We actually door knocked for a little bit asking million dollar home intercoms if they had space for 3 tents. It didn’t work out too well. But the hill worked out perfectly.

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The next day we were on on way to LA to Venice beach and played a show at the WhitZend where we were greeted warmly and even had a green room to hang out in and play music before and after in. Incredible stage with beautiful lighting and awesome sound. I never thought it my life I would be playing music, let alone with all my friends and biking. Pretty wild.

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The next day we said goodbye to Gillian who set off to Costa Rica for a festival and then set off to Harry’s house that we met from Warmshowers. He sweetly offered us a place to stay about a 30 mile ride away in LA (yes the city is huge).

He was not home when we arrived so he left the house open and to our amazement were offered a guest house and a huge huge huge yard! It was a special place and as Harry said we “scored”. I love warm showers it makes me feel like I am not on the road but rather in a home. People that open their lives and houses to is really makes me believe in people and accept the generosity. Really it’s a full circle as we learn from each other and share experiences and stories. It’s truly beautiful.

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I was also able to see my friend Diana from college who happened to be in LA as well! What a great reunion, while i was gone she helped look after my things in the Bay Area at her parents house while I was traveling.

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Harry was so much fun to hang out with and after our two shows that we had in La we took a little break and stayed an extra day and played music and drank delicious wine!

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Unfortunately while at Harry’s my friends Carolyn and mega left back to San Francisco. So the dynamic of the group is changing it will for sure be a different ride.

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We have a show in San Diego on Wednesday so we are off riding our bikes 116 miles south!

International Festival de Peliculas Fiesta

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It was 10 pm, the night was sticky and hot with a soft breeze that was swaying in and out. The outdoor movie was dancing in the wind as the screen moved around.”The bicycle thief” was the movie in Italian, translated into Spanish subtitles. The International Film Festival was in full swing as we drank beers while watching the film for free.

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Honestly, the movie was horrible. The experience was priceless. After the five of us walked 15 minutes from the old historical town to the media luna district which was roaring with energy. We found ourselves at the plaza again as street vendors and artisans were humming about.

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Suddenly, a car pulls up and starts playing music from subs in the trunk of the car. My friend Karine from Australian starts feeling the music. So much that he starts to go Napoleon Dynamite and dances by himself holding up traffic. A circle starts to appear around him and the rest is history. Thank goodness I have this on film! I couldn’t help myself I just couldn’t believe that he was dancing like he was!20130223-173447.jpgAnother wonderful end to the gorgeous day in Cartagena. I don’t think I could be more in love with the people and this city.